Perhaps, the toughest job of a salesman is that of tracing the buying motives of prospects or customers. Customer is a complex of buying motives and it is really difficult identify all the motives their influence on the buying behaviour. Even the expert psychologist have failed to uncover these subjective variables. They only say that man being rational, tries maximise his level of satisfaction with least exertion and in his exercise buying motives play constructive role.
However, salesman succeeded in tracing these hidden or covert motives appeal to them for converting their desire into demand. The usual methods of tracing are:
1. Lending Ears and Opening Eyes:
Here, ‘lending’ the ears and ‘opening’ the eyes means listening carefully and observe keenly the people around. Most of the persons do talk about themselves provided they have opportune situation and congenial atmosphere. Salesman is known for talking and talking but his efforts are simply rewarded if he speaks less and allows others to talk and expose to the bottom of their hearts. Motivational research has proved it beyond doubt that hidden and real motives can be unearthed by intent or in depth interview where the salesman listens to him and observes by being very near to him. The secrets can be revealed with a great degree of success for the benefits of salesman and the firm.
2. Using Past Records and Experience:
Experience is the best guide or the teacher. Rich experience, particularly bitter experience, is of much importance in improving his future performance. A good salesman has a diary giving the details of his prospects, their buying motives, efforts to identify them, reaction sought and got. When he deals with a new face and new mind, his past experience based on gathered information that should help his understanding as to why the customer buys a product or products of the firm.
3. Using Firms Advertising:
There is no other rich source than advertising for knowing about an appeal or unique selling proposition otherwise known as “USPs”. Each piece of advertisement is the outcome of talent, treasure and the time. Good deal of research is undertaken to frame and present advertisement to make them most appealing. They are based on buying motives of the customers. Advertising appeals match to the hidden motives of the customers. It is because media research is basically intended to provide flow of information about audience or target groups and the effects of media to the planners, producers and users of media directly or indirectly. Research is the most reliable way to find out the effects of media and feed back on audience.
4. Direct Talks with Customers:
Though it is impossible to read totally the human mind, it is possible to get some useful clues or traces for getting grip over the hidden buying motives or prospects. Just as doctor is to be told by his patient of what is his real health problem, so also the prospect unveils hidden motives, there is nothing wrong in asking directly the prospect so as to have heart to heart specification expressions and matching for mutual benefit with least waste of time and resources.
5. Sharing Ideas with Colleagues:
Many a times, friendly salesman gather good deal of information with regard to knowledge and knack of tracing the buying motives of customers. It is usually the different experience of each salesman and has his unique way of tackling a given situation. Sound relations between co-workers would exchange such tactical information about buying motives of prospects which can be fully exploited. However, due to personal differences and competitive stands taken lead to keep way one from sharing such ideas for the benefit of one and all.
5. Face and Body Language:
Face is the index of mind and the bodily gestures do indicate his or her reactions. General appearance of the customer gives some ideas about the motives of the customer. In case a customer appears to be neat, clean, well dressed with quality apparels and shoes, a nice salesman smells his buying motives of pride, vanity, praise and admiration. In case the appearance is pretty simple, his motives are basically rational than emotional. Even his style of talking, asking the questions, the way he reacts as to what you say will also help in reading his mind through his body language.
7. Nature of Questions Asked by the Customer:
As a customer comes to the counter, he is a fully loaded gun of questions which are to be answered. His questions do speak about the motives behind the quarries. For instance, Mr Rajan enters ‘Poshak’ Ready Wear Dealers, and asks about frock or peddle-push in a particular range, for his daughter or son, it indicates of his love and affection towards his offspring. Or the other, he is making detailed enquiries about Wagonor in Maruti Auto Showroom, it indicate; the rational motives such as fuel efficiency, spare parts availability, initial investment and emotional motives such as leg-room, head-room, colour-combinations and so on. These questions are about products, maker, brand and so on.